A couple of days ago, the Archbishop of Malta Charles Scicluna raised a veritable sh*tstorm on Xarabank when he said that he would be open to teaching Islam in Church Schools if it were logistically possible; and that the teaching of Islam should be conducted with Government Schools as well.
Now, this proposal was met with rage and indignation by Malta’s average racist citizen who a) seemingly can’t read beyond an article title (if you have gotten to here, consider yourself amongst the educated few) and b) can’t bear to imagine the religion of evil and suicide bombings being taught to Maltese children. So, for clarity’s sake, before I get to my own viewpoint on this; let’s just have a brief run-through of what the Archbishop actually said.
Speaking in a telephone conversation on Xarabank; Mons. Scicluna said that Malta’s Constitution guarantees freedom of thought when it comes to religion, and that he hoped that the government can come to an agreement to start teaching Islam within schools. When quizzed on whether the religion could ever make its way into the curriculum of Church Schools; he said that the ethos of Church schools did not mean that Muslim children should be restricted from education or that they should be forced to learn Catholicism by force. Indeed he said, if it were logistically possible (for instance, if there was a group of Muslim students), he would have no objection to Islam being taught within Church schools.
A very important point to raise at this point is also the fact that Imam Mohammed El Sadi, who was present on the program, said that any Islamic teaching within government schools must be in line with Maltese law and indeed Maltese and European values.
Now, in my view this is all well and good as a first step. However, my opinion is a much more radical one when it comes to education. It is my belief that Religion as the subject it is today, should be scrapped. Now just give me a minute before you sharpen the pitchfork and light the torch. Think about it. Isn’t the subject out of date? Aren’t the same subject matters being taught in Cathecism lessons? With the answers to these questions in mind, wouldn’t it be better if that hour per week at school was filled up by another subject?
This subject, call it whatever you like, would incorporate not just Christianity; but also the other four major religions of the world – Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism. As a subject, it will teach the basic principles and values behind each religion; and then move on to the historical, cultural and social effects that these religions have had on the world. It doesn’t even need to have an exam at the end of it. The end goal is to educate people about how other cultures and other religions work, for it is only through education that we will actually start to become more tolerant to those different to ourselves; and hence away from the pathetic racist attitude that seems to have taken over this island like a plague.
This is of course a very utopian idea. In reality, unless a political party actively wishes to not get elected, something like this will never get implemented. Not now at least; though one can dream…
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